The Year In Stuff

There are seven days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. I think this is probably common knowledge.

There are 365 days in a year, which I think is also commonly understood, although maybe not the next part: 52 (weeks per year) times 7 (days per week) equals 364 days. It always will, too.

Which means that if Dec. 31st is on a Sunday this year, it’ll be on a Monday next year. Unless 2018 were a leap year (it is not), in which case Dec. 31st would be on a Tuesday.

This shouldn’t be surprising, although I dunno. Sometimes I’m surprised. A few years ago, there was this thing going around online, some old Chinese proverb around the incredibly rare calendar event of something. I seem to remember it was four full weekends in a calendar month (meaning, Friday-Saturday-Sunday), which supposedly comes about only once every 100,000 years or something similar.

You can see how this works. It conflates something solar, essentially arithmetic, with something celestial, such as the orbit of a comet. We don’t think too much about it except to note, hey, there are four weekends this July! as if that didn't happen every six years, and then we’re off. People are funny.

All of this to point out that Sunday is the best day for Christmas, and Monday is the worst. So we get the best and worst back to back, every six years. Every six years, I go to church on Christmas morning and New Year’s Day, and it feels like the end of something. The week, certainly, for me (and not the beginning).

Monday holidays, particularly these two, just mess with me. I completely lose my calendar and sort of establish my own artificial Leap Year, with everything pushed back or held back a day, it’s hard to sort out. It just doesn’t feel like Thursday. It feels like another day.

If it’s Thursday, that means I’ll be in Texas tomorrow evening. And I don’t feel ready, of course, but of course it’ll be fine. We’re only going for a few days. I could fit everything in a backpack, and I might. Packing is not an issue, nor is anything else. This will be an easy one.

But it’s coming, and I have a few errands to do, and it doesn’t help that I’ve now got my days confused.

Or that I have to write a column for next week, it seems to me, rather than try to pull that off from vacation with no laptop or (for some of the stay) a convenient internet connection. Since our trip coincides with other trips, with people coming to my daughter’s house to stay over the holiday (this all works out, since the young people can have a New Year’s Eve while Bixie stays with his grandparents, who DO NOT MIND), we’re staying at an AirBnB near their house.

Yes, I do live in the 21st century. I’m doing the AirBnB thing. I’ve taken an Uber and FaceTimed over LTE. I’m hip with it all.

So I have my assignments. We leave in the morning, too, so. I’ll wrap up 2017, thanks very much.

There is one over-riding aspect to this past year—and who am I kidding, the past couple of years—that makes the rest of those 365 days a reflection of it. And it’s nothing major, or particularly alarming. I just don’t have the words at the moment.

And until I find those words, I’m going to have trouble with other words. It just seems to be that way.

I got better about discipline regarding daily exercise this year, something that has started to lag in the past few. The Fitbit sometimes helped, as did my awareness that exercise tolerance and overall fitness seem to endure through the lax times. This was encouraging.

And I still keep track of things, because that’s what I do. I weigh the same as I did last year at this time. I ate slightly less than I expended in terms of activity, essentially the same given the lack of accuracy.

I made two trips to Austin and two to Phoenix. The first Arizona trip was to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday, and the second came when she had a health crisis, which seemed ominous at the time but has surprisingly improved beyond what we thought possible.

I learned a few tricks in the kitchen, particularly how to sous vide dinner and get some good stuff on our table.

I also learned some Excel tricks. Hey, it’s something. Keeping things lively.

I watched as my son drifted out of my orbit and established independence and other changes in remarkably rapid ways. And then there’s this:


I don’t know where he started, exactly, although I feel fairly safe in saying this guy’s lost 70 pounds in the past couple of years. He works in a warehouse, he’s strong, he’s accomplished, he has goals and income and a young man’s disinterest in his father’s anything (except his closet). One of my jobs is now over.

So there’s that.

I had to spend more money I don’t have, over $8000 on a new water line and nearly $2000 in car repairs. I had to cancel my health insurance. I took a class at Seattle University, which was sponsored for me by the deacons at church and which I really didn’t participate with in a stellar way. I aim to improve.

I now own a dash cam, a couple of new shirts, an Amazon Dot to go along with my Echo, a Washington Post subscription, and a solid VPN connection.

I’ve listened to more music, and watched more ordinary television shows that I managed to enjoy quite a bit. I saw The Hero and The Last Jedi in theaters and more at home, including Wonder Woman, which I appreciated, I suppose, as much as anyone did. I added more podcast subscriptions but actually listened less, I think.

I cut way back on Facebook and I’m better for it. I added in an active Twitter life, which surprised me by being something I could use and enjoy (with a lot of curating), and I tend to post on Instagram a lot and enjoy that form of social media, snapshots and captions. This is the good kind, I suspect, snapshots and captions. All we really need.

And I remain hovering grandpa as my Bixie works his way through the fifth year, growing and learning in ways that seem startling and almost unimaginable, Grandpa having been out of the small-child phase for a while. His legs are longer, his brain is bigger, and his hold on my heart is only stronger.

That’s enough, too. I’d like more, but I’ll take a little boy, and this year, and be grateful I’m around to see it. And hope to see more, and in a different way. Happy New Year, oh mythical ones. Catch you in a few.

Chuck SigarsComment